Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Family Rott...Part One


If we take all the known surnames in our family and research them as best we can some will elicit more data than others.  While I have been highly successful with my research on my Colberg/Kolberg line progress on other lines comes more slowly.  If we are lucky something will appear on a line that is very exciting.

Such was my experience yesterday.  I have to confess that I had an interesting encounter that I can safely say few if any genealogists (or non-genealogists) have ever experienced before and  will probably not experience in the future either.  I had a delightful conversation with a woman in Minnesota who has the maiden name of Rott and whose father and grandfather were born in Borntuchen, Kreis Bütow, Pommern, Germany where my 2nd great grandmother, Emilie Rott, (mother of my great-grandmother Bertha Kramp Kolberg) was born.  The name is pronounced ROOT such as the root of a flower!

Now I can hear my readers saying to themselves "well great, Cheryl, but what makes you think we have not had similar experiences ourselves"?  The deciding factor in this statement is that the sweet lady I spoke with is 113 years old, fully cognitive and a pleasure to talk to.

Now how did this connection come about?  As often happens in our research an interesting tidbit will pop up here and there.  Such is what happened about 7 years ago when my cousin and fellow researcher, Sheila, told me that she had found a website of Trinity Lutheran Church of Audubon, Iowa that included a family history page.  In this family history page there was mention of various families that had originally immigrated to this part of Iowa from Borntuchen, Kreis Bütow including a woman, Anna Rott Stoehr, who at the time was 106 years old.  Sheila studied the web site, contacted the webmaster and subsequently had a conversation with Anna's son.  It was an interesting connection but at the time we had not uncovered that much about our Emilie Rott and we discussed the amazing life of a woman, who at 106 still lived independently on her farm, did all her own cleaning and cooking and was alert and cognitive.

Over the years Sheila would tell me that she had seen on the Internet that Anna was now 108, 110, etc and we would marvel over that.  Last fall Sheila told me that she had seen some articles again on Anna who was going to be 113 on October 15th.  She was listed as the oldest woman IN THE WORLD living independently and the oldest woman in Minnesota.  Here are a few of those articles:

a.  Article on her 112th birthday.

b.  Article in April, 2013 at the Minnesota Twins Lutheran Night.

c.  Article on her 113th birthday.

I decided to send Anna a birthday card and did.  A few weeks later I received a phone call from her oldest son and we had a lengthy conversation comparing names and data on our ancestors from Borntuchen.  We discovered that Anna's grandfather and my 2nd great-grandmother were both born in Borntuchen in the early 1840's and while there is no clear evidence at this time to connect our Rott ancestors it is highly possible.  During the conversation her son gave me Anna's phone number and told me that she would love to hear from me.  She had recently decided to give up independent living and had moved into an assisted living facility in Minnesota but still prepared two meals a day and did her own cleaning and laundry including baking her own bread!

I tried several times to call Anna but never received an answer.  Her son had told me that she is very busy with her activities at her assisted living facility, loves to play cards and hosts her "card club".  Yesterday afternoon I decided to give it another try and called Anna.

This time I was successful.  She answered the phone promptly and it was like talking to somebody 40 years younger.  She was pleased to hear from me, told me her son had talked to her about our previous conversation and she discussed her father and grandfather.  While she did not have much information on the early years of her ancestors she did know that they were from Borntuchen though she had never been there herself.  She was born in Iowa, lived in South Dakota and now in Minnesota and she told me she was a "prairie girl".  She inquired on my life, talked about the upcoming Christmas holidays and the weather.  She talked about her church and her activities there and how she was enjoying her new home.  She also said that she wished I could visit her and inquired as to where my home town was located in Michigan.  When I told her it was near to Chicago she said that was not all that far from her home in Minnesota.  She was just delightful and I enjoyed my time talking with her.

If for no other reason, it was a privilege to "meet" this delightful woman and spend some time talking with her.  She truly has a strong Christian faith which has seen her through the trials and tribulations of life and has blessed her with a long life and one which she is still able to enjoy.

In the realm of my genealogy research on my Rott family there will need to be further data that will allow me to, hopefully, connect my Rott family with that of Anna's.  New information on my Rott ancestry has become available the last few years which I will discuss in further posts in this series.

Copyright (c) 2013, Cheryl J. Schulte